Anyone who follows the Bengals closely know that Carlos Dunlap is not only one of the team’s best players, but also one of the league’s better 4-3 defensive ends.
Unfortunately, players on teams who have four-straight losing seasons don’t typically get the recognition they deserve, which leads to guys like Dunlap flying under the national radar.
Case in point is Pro Football Focus’ look at each NFL team’s most underrated player, and Dunlap was the pick for Cincinnati.
Dunlap recently made PFF’s All-Decade 101 at 89th overall — PFF’s Sam Monson called him “one of the most underrated players of his generation.” I’d tend to agree with that assessment. Dunlap has never graded below 70.0 during his 10-year NFL career, and he’s coming off a career-high 89.7 grade in 2019 that was one of the best marks at the edge defender position across the league. When it comes to just raw pressures over the last 10 years, his 565 total pressures ranks third at the position behind only Von Miller and Cameron Wake. Dunlap figures to remain a key component of a much-improved Bengals defense in 2020 after the moves they made on that side of the ball this offseason.
In addition, Dunlap is currently 11th among active NFL players in career sacks (81). He already holds the Bengals franchise record for career sacks and is coming off nine-sack season, the third-highest of his 10-year career and the most since 2015, despite missing two games due to injury.
As PFF notes, Dunlap’s 89.7 grade last season was the highest of his NFL career in what was his age-30 season.
The Bengals certainly need Dunlap to keep playing at that level to get back to their winning ways in 2020. The good news is he has yet to show any sign of slowing down, which is bad news for anyone on Cincinnati’s schedule next season.